When solid ground grows soft with emerald moss and rivulets of black mud, and coffee-colored water pours slowly around the trunks of densely carpeted trees, this marks the beginning of Laod Mor: the swamp of Blossom Forest. Time itself seems to slow to a soporific crawl . . . the humid jungle air grows stagnant, thick with the scent of rich flooded earth and an abundance of green things that can be found nowhere else—except perhaps Caidir Olc. In some areas of the swamp, water rises so high the only way to cross it is to crawl across fallen logs or massive roots arching from their liquid beds; in other places a wolf might wade easily through the mire—or find a fortunate stretch of mostly dry earth. Pieces of the great river, Glaesfaet Sceawere, also slice through from time to time: small falls that feed into surprisingly clear pools, only to terminate into tar-like pits. Of course, Laod Mor’s beauty shines brightest at night. Here, fireflies gather at all times of the year . . . suffusing the shadowy place with millions of twinkling lights.

Those looking to hunt here of course find a myriad of water prey, including caiman, turtles, fish, crayfish, otters, and toads.

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Vladimir could feel Scamander‘s sadness and hurt despite the distance. He had not been particularly worried when Scamander had been absent from their den for a little while - after all, Dierne Hrof was a big place, and Scamander would be safe within its boundaries. But he had not known at the time that Scamander had gone beyond the edge. Why? Vladimir could not even begin to fathom… Although, it made sense that Scamander would want to find others of his own kind for a sense of belonging, or even just to see if they were all right. Vladimir did not know much about the rainbows other than that he was supposed to protect them. His one task when it came to them… And already he was failing. With a quick kiss to Seraphina and his triplets, he had galloped off into the night. He could not know that the worst pain was yet to come - what he was feeling now was nothing compared to how Scamander was about to feel upon Vera’s death. Vlad had not slept fully that night, but he found his body was fully awake, driven by the anger, the rage, the magic within him. It pumped adrenaline through his veins, giving him seamlessly endless energy… yet he knew that when the magic stopped, exhaustion would certainly set it. He could not let that happen, not until he reached Scamander and ensured his safety. So his paws galloped him across the land, and it was only good luck and fortune that they were only about a day and a half away. And just when he had entered the mire that separated Dierne Hrof from Caidir Olc, he felt Scamander‘s sadness and hurt turn to pain, fear, suffering, horror. Despite his exhaustion, his rage flamed anew and he continued on. The price would be higher this time, without him having stopped at all, but he had to get to him. He had to protect him.

When finally color exploded in his vision, it was not just Scamander - no. Before him was a group of rainbows, and one of them was dead upon the back of a regular wolf. The hackles raised along his spine and he leapt toward Scamander protectively, placing himself between his rainbow and the stranger. He fully opened himself up to his magic to feel the soul of everyone around him - each of the rainbows was hurting, but obviously it was Scamander‘s soul that shone the brightest, that he felt most acutely. And almost immediately, his hackles lowered for he could tell that this stranger meant none of the rainbows any harm.

Vladimir took a step back so that he was not amidst all of them but rather could look at them all. None of the live rainbows were hurt, but he could see their auras expressing that they were scared. But it was Scamander‘s emotions that were battering at his head and heart, that had beckoned him here to this place. “What are all of you doing here? Do you not know that this is close to the vampire pack? I have no doubt that the vampire queen is caught onto each of your perfumes and is leading her hoard here to collect you. ” He could not know how true his words were - in that instant, Lucaya was murdering first a Tempest (his niece) and then a rainbow (Fallon), so though he did not know of the death of his niece, he could feel the pain that Scamander felt again at the death of Fallon. “What now?” He turned to face Scamander, concern written clearly across his face. “What has happened now past the death of this one?

He turned to look at the young rainbow pup who was speaking now, pleading with the eldest and the others to leave. Vladimir found himself nodding along with what she was saying - she couldn’t be more right. “You all are too exposed here, and if the vampire Queen brings her army here, I… I am a decent fighter, but I cannot take on the whole hoard by myself. I need to take Scamander back to my pack, he will be safe there. The rest of you are welcome to come, you will be welcomed. But I will not force you to be there. But nor will I allow Scamander to put himself in harms’s way while remaining out here any longer.” He looked down at Scamander and gestured back the way that he had come. “We have to go… Do you understand? I don’t want you to end up like this one, I care about you like you were my own.” Not for the first time, Vlad wished that he could touch the Arcus Irae so that he could offer a comforting touch. Instead, he was left with merely furrowing his brows and peering at him with sympathy.

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